|River, river, little river,
Bright you sparkle on your way,
While the tadpoles dance and quiver
And upon your bosom play.
River, river, muddy river,
There has been a little rain,
And it makes me shake and shiver,
Lest there come some more again.
Little river, how you wander
Over all the countryside,
Filling fields and barns and houses
With your creeping, lapping tide.
There are turtles in the cellar,
There are bullfrogs in the well,
And the hickory shads are playing
Over in the bosky dell.
Tell me, little river, tell me
Why you clamber o'er the bank,
Filling all the land with dampness
And a smell so loud and rank.
River, river, raging river,
Full of mud and drift and slime,
Like the bile upon the liver
During watermelon time.
Verdigris Valley Verse
(Coffeyville, Kansas: The Journal Press. 1917)